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Forum: Bug Report and Feature Requests

Feature request: 'Author last seen'

madnige
Updated:

What I would like is to have the last time an author logged on to the site available somewhere, to allow me to target works approaching archiving but well before the week's notice (which is too short if the author has well over 100 works, or if multiple prolific authors are archived in short order, or if a reader's internet access is lost for a while). It would also answer the frequent questions of the form 'Is XYZ still around'. This info obviously already exists in the database as it's used by the archive mechanism and gets reported in the forums on occasion.

It would be logical to have this info listed in the author profile, but not all authors have profiles so that's not possible. As I see it, there are only two places this info could be shown; on the author storylist page (not a great fit, though all authors have a storylist page) or as an extra column on the alphabetical author list pages, similar to the 'Latest' column. [ETA: a column heading of 'Seen' seems appropriate.] There is plenty of space in the Name field that could be pinched for another column; the longest author name at present is 'Tonight I can write the filthiest lines' which only uses about half the available width. For an extra wrinkle, if the author doesn't log on and stories are only posted by the management (like the SciFi stories pulp reprints) this field could be left blank to show this.

robberhands

@madnige

... I would like is to have the last time an author logged on to the site available somewhere ...

As much as I sympathize with your reasons for this suggestion, I still regard my privacy more important than your reading schedule.

AmigaClone
Updated:

@madnige

While that might be a nice feature in some cases, I personally think it's unnecessary and undesirable as robberhands mentioned for privacy reasons.

If it were to be implemented I think that the actual last login date should be kept private, with those who have logged on within the past year or two be identified as "within the past ... months" and over that giving the month and year.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Ernest Bywater

Home page, left hand column last link under the Top Lists boxes and before the Links box is Up for Archival. That usually gives a few weeks notice. by listing the stories about to be processed.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@AmigaClone


If it were to be implemented I think that the actual last login date should be kept private, with those who have logged on within the past year or two be identified as "within the past ... months" and over that giving the month and year.


That might be a somewhat "reasonable" compromise. Although given it is personal data to some extent, I would probably make it opt-in on the author's part past whatever arbitrary point. (For example, stories not going to the Premier Archive already indicates the author has logged in during the past 5 years.)

A two to four year "window" would likely be reasonable to most. A one year "window" might be considered too small by a large number. However, there could be a plurality of authors who might opt-in for advertising their presence down to as little as the previous month.

Ultimately it is more code for Laz to implement, and a privacy issue for the authors and Laz to hash out.

Edit to add: While as a reader I might find such a feature slightly useful in a "is _____ still around?" kind of way. I would much prefer that the Authors continue to trust Laz with their data. I can also see certain "fans" potentially being abusive with such information, and blog posts work as a "I am still here" kind of advertising on the author's part.

Switch Blayde

@madnige

I don't know if it makes a difference, but I never log off.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Switch Blayde

I don't know if it makes a difference, but I never log off.


Doesn't make a difference. When you access the site, your record is updated. The 'Sign Out' link merely removes the cookie from your browser, but it doesn't make any change to the database.

REP

@madnige

Madnige – your suggestion addresses the relocation of a story to the paid member only area. That is not the only reason for downloading a story you like to your computer.

1. There is no guarantee that an author will leave a story on the SOL website. Authors have left SOL and taken their stories with them. Sometimes an author will leave a story on the site for a limited time and then remove it. If you like a story and want to read the story in the future, download it now.

2. Sometimes an author will rewrite a story, and the rewrite can be very different than the original. When the author posts the rewrite using the same name, the original is no longer available. If you want to read the original story in the future, download it now.

Crumbly Writer

Your proposal gets complicated quickly. Do you track the author by his author name, his sign-on name, or any of his half-a-dozen pseudonyms? I've got a couple SOL names, and a different name on FS than I do on SOL, so which do you track?

Besides, if an author isn't physically able to write anymore, but still enjoys the site, do we really want readers to continually badger them about "When are you posting your latest story?", when they see he's active (reading only) on the site.

I can't imagine any way your proposal could work. :(

The "weeks until archival" field is your best option, and a decent alternative.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

Your proposal gets complicated quickly. Do you track the author by his author name, his sign-on name, or any of his half-a-dozen pseudonyms? I've got a couple SOL names, and a different name on FS than I do on SOL, so which do you track?

Besides, if an author isn't physically able to write anymore, but still enjoys the site, do we really want readers to continually badger them about "When are you posting your latest story?", when they see he's active (reading only) on the site.


I am going to stick with a "make it an opt-in" option for authors, with the addition of allowing an opt-in per pen-name. Now if Laz wanted to provide "finer levels of detail" as to "last on" activity, that's a design issue for him to make a call on.

If an author wants users to be able to tell they(or a given pen name) were on here 1 week ago without blogging, great. But I see that level of variation as generating increasingly complex code which doesn't really add much.

But I do think an opt-in for showing "author (pen-name) activity" more recent than 5 years ago is reasonable.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@Not_a_ID

But I do think an opt-in for showing "author (pen-name) activity" more recent than 5 years ago is reasonable.


The easiest 'opt-in' for an author to let us know they are still around would be to post in their blog "I'm still alive but not writing so don't bug me about new chapters".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

The easiest 'opt-in' for an author to let us know they are still around would be to post in their blog "I'm still alive but not writing so don't bug me about new chapters".

Again, more commonly, an author with health issues will typically post under a pseudonym, making no mention of his health under his actual name, holding of until they hopefully recover, because they don't think their writing represents their previous quality of work. Thus people familiar with them know what's going on, while those who aren't will wonder 'whatever became of'. Often, they died in the interim, so the period before their stories might go premium wouldn't be exact.

This is especially common for authors suffering from 'chemo brain', where their cancer treatment affects their ability to write and their creativity.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Okay, my attempt at sarcasm went wide. All I was trying to say is that if authors want to let us know they are still around, they could easily make a blog post. That could result in a ton of unwanted 'when's the next chapter' emails/messages. If they DON'T want want the readers to know they are 'lurking', their desire for privacy should not be intruded upon.

Just my $.02

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Not_a_ID
Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

Okay, my attempt at sarcasm went wide. All I was trying to say is that if authors want to let us know they are still around, they could easily make a blog post.

Sorry! I stupidly accepted that as a potential suggestion.

Not_a_ID

@Capt. Zapp

Okay, my attempt at sarcasm went wide. All I was trying to say is that if authors want to let us know they are still around, they could easily make a blog post.


It also was one I had already previously acknowledged. 😈

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

It also was one I had already previously acknowledged. 😈

The original discussion was over how readers could determine what happened to authors, not how authors could tell readers what they were doing. We already have a system for that, it's call 'author blogs'.

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